Florida St. moves into #1 in the computer rankings for the first time this season.
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Florida St. 2
2 ( 1 ) Alabama 1
3 ( 7 ) Ohio St. 4
4 ( 3 ) Oregon 3
5 ( 4 ) Miss. St. 5
6 ( 8 ) UCLA 8
7 ( 19 ) Marshall 9
8 ( 5 ) TCU 7
9 ( 9 ) Georgia 10
10 ( 12 ) Arizona 15
11 ( 14 ) Auburn 11
12 ( 26 ) Boise St. 12
13 ( 6 ) Baylor 16
14 ( 17 ) Ole Miss 6
15 ( 18 ) Ga. Tech 13
16 ( 21 ) Colo. St. 14
17 ( 10 ) Mich. St. 17
18 ( 15 ) Wisconsin 20
19 ( 11 ) Kansas St. 21
20 ( 16 ) Missouri 22
21 ( 13 ) Arizona St. 18
22 ( 20 ) Oklahoma 23
23 ( 22 ) Clemson 24
24 ( 30 ) Nebraska 19
25 ( 23 ) Minnesota Ė
(Louisville and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (25) USC
There are a total of 44 teams that got some level of points in the Mock BCS standings linked to above.
Earlier top-25 blogs:
Florida St. moved into #1, although I think another reminder that I donít factor in margin of victory is in order. Alabama could move back into #1 by beating better opponents in the coming weeks, but something else to keep in mind is Florida St. isnít the only ACC team playing an SEC team this weekend. If the ACC does significantly better, thatís an even stronger argument in Florida St.ís favor, which my system is designed to recognize.
I thought some of the commentariat brought up some interesting points about the committeeís #4-7 teams.
I want to mention something Jeff Long, a member of the committee, said first though. He said they look at where a team was ranked when you played them. I hope thatís not true, but it would explain why LSU was seemingly penalized so much as compared to other two-loss teams before the Alabama game.
I just donít think itís right if they donít consider that a loss to a top-five team. Itís not LSUís fault people didnít yet know they were going to be one of the top teams this season. If anything, the team who is the first to go down should get a break since theyíve had more time to recover from the loss. Also, later teams have more ability to anticipate problem areas and can possibly benefit from injuries. Of course, what they should do is consider how good the opponent is without the loss. For instance, had LSU won the last two games, it may be worth noting in the Bulldogsí favor that taking out their win over LSU, the Tigers would be in the conversation for the top 4.
I do think there are some unique challenges to beating a previously unbeaten team several weeks in, but I also hope Florida St. isnít being given credit for a top-five win when Notre Dame isnít even in the top 25 now. A top-25 win maybe, if you consider the Irish could well be in the top 25 had they simply not played the Seminoles. It is very important to consider those teams just outside of the top 25. Iíll talk more about them at the end.
There was some grumbling about Mississippi St., but I think if they beat Ole Miss, they have a good argument. I do think a one-loss Ohio St. team winning the Big Ten championship game (especially if itís over Wisconsin) should go ahead of an idle Mississippi St. team, assuming Alabama wins the SEC West anyway, though.
I penalize for bad losses and yet I still have Ohio St. in the top 4, so that tells me that Ohio St.ís 8-game conference schedule + Wisconsin (if the Badgers win) is going to be better than either TCUís or Baylorís, assuming weíre going to be comparing one-loss teams. Ohio St. also has respectable wins over Navy and Cincinnati.
Baylor didnít beat anyone worth mentioning out of conference, and TCU only beat one team, albeit a good one (Minnesota).
Obviously, if Minnesota beats Wisconsin, thatís going to be even better for the Horned Frogs and you could have an argument theyíre more deserving in that scenario.
I donít see any scenario, however, where one-loss Baylor should go ahead of one-loss TCU or one-loss Ohio St.
ďB-but head to headĒ isnít an argument.
Beating TCU is just a high-quality win.
I know the way tie-breakers work, they donít care how bad the loss is. For instance, if Alabama had lost to Arkansas or Texas A&M instead of Ole Miss, they still would win the tie-breaker over Mississippi St. if the two finish with the same SEC record.
I do care how bad the loss is. In fact, I think that should be the most important game to compare when you compare two one-loss teams.
So before we even get to Minnesota, I think TCU goes ahead of Baylor. Playing well enough to lose to Baylor by three (my system doesnít look at the margin, but that doesnít mean my arguments canít) is playing well enough to beat all but maybe 10 teams in college football. Playing at that level could be good enough to win a semifinal playoff game.
Itís hard to be complimentary about a 14-point loss to WVU though. It is tougher to play them on the road, but TCU did that and managed to win.
I know not everyone will credit Ohio St. for having a couple of mid-level non-conference wins instead of one good one like TCU, and thatís fine. I can accept that. I could not accept Baylor going ahead of either team though, assuming one loss apiece.
I think the Big Ten is slightly better than the Big XII, but even if theyíre equal, consider that when youíre in a 10-team conference you play the worst teams as well as the best. Ohio St. did not play Purdue, and thatís one of the two worst teams in the Big Ten. TCU played Kansas (barely beating them) and will play Iowa St. during championship week.
My hope is Ohio St. is given significant credit for beating a tougher opponent on that weekend. If they are and they come up short, thatís fine. I like TCU better anyway.
A lot of these conversations could become even more muddled if you add in a possible two-loss SEC team. I think Mississippi St. is out with two losses, but a two-loss SEC champion Georgia team, Iím not so sure. They would have wins over Auburn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Missouri, not to mention whoever the SEC West champions will be (most likely Alabama but possibly Mississippi St.)
Also, unlike last year, a loss to Auburn doesnít necessarily knock Alabama out of the divisional race. Most people predicted Alabama to come out of Oxford with a win, and that didnít happen. The same thing could happen to Mississippi St.
Alabama beat that West Virginia team mentioned above. They also beat Mississippi St., LSU, and Florida and could possibly beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.
Georgia isnít guaranteed to win the East though. In fact, they need Arkansas to beat Missouri for that to happen. That may be the key to any two-loss SEC team being included.
Nothing down the list was too interesting. Minnesota actually jumped up 10 spots, so even though they beat Nebraska, they still got pretty significant credit for that even though it wasnít quite enough to most past the Huskers. When two teams are separated by 16 spots going into a game, itís not always enough for the lower team to get ahead in the ratings.
Also, it was nice to see Boise St. and Marshall finally get included in the committeeís top 25. Iím generally against ďmid-majorĒ teams being in the top 10, but the committee went too far in excluding them for so long.
I donít know what theyíre thinking keeping Utah in there though. Losing to Washington St. is pretty bad. If you want to pick a team with four losses, here are some better suggestions: LSU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and USC. Apart from Notre Dame againstNorthwestern, none of the rest lost an embarrassing game like that. Since Notre Dame is playing USC and LSU is playing Texas A&M, hopefully the winners will get some strong consideration for that last spot. I would even take Arkansas as a five-loss team given their schedule (In addition to the SEC West, they will have played Georgia and Missouri, the best two teams in the East, as well as Northern Illinois and Texas Techout of conference).
Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher when Fisher was Sabanís offensive coordinator at LSU.
There are 40 teams total that got at least some level of ďMock BCSĒ points, so you can follow the link below to find them all.
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Alabama 4
2 ( 1 ) Florida St. 3
3 ( 3 ) Oregon 2
4 ( 7 ) Ohio St. 10
5 ( 4 ) Miss. St. 1
6 ( 8 ) Ole Miss 5
7 ( 5 ) TCU 9
8 ( 10 ) UCLA 6
9 ( 19 ) Marshall 13
10 ( 9 ) Georgia 21
11 ( 14 ) Auburn 7
12 ( 28 ) Boise St. 15
13 ( 17 ) Ga. Tech 22
14 ( 23 ) Colo. St. 11
15 ( 15 ) Arizona 20
16 ( 6 ) Baylor 14
17 ( 11 ) Mich. St. 24
18 ( 13 ) Arizona St. 8
19 ( 22 ) Nebraska 12
20 ( 16 ) Wisconsin Ė
21 ( 12 ) Kansas St. 19
22 ( 18 ) Missouri Ė
23 ( 21 ) Oklahoma Ė
24 ( 30 ) Clemson 23
25 ( 24 ) USC Ė
(Utah and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (16) Notre Dame, (17) Duke, (18) LSU, (25) TX A&M
I have serious reservations about both Alabama and Florida St.; but itís the right thing, at least at this point, for both to be the top 2 teams. Alabama has had major issues with playing on the road (one-point win over Arkansas, virtual loss to LSU, actual loss to Ole Miss), although they donít have any road games left. Florida St. has too; but itís been a more general pattern of slow starts on both sides of the ball, followed by quick scores that the opposition offenses canít keep up with.
Last week, I mentioned that it was possible for both Mississippi St. and Alabama to be in the top 4 with a Tide win over the Bulldogs. This would have happened were it not for another team I didnít anticipate making the top 4, Ohio St.
A few things came together to help this happen. Even though the Gophers were unranked, that still counts as a good win. The fact that TCU escaped against Kansas on Saturday helped that to continue to count as a good win. (TCU beat Minnesota out of conference.) As I discussed last week in reference to Arizona St./Notre Dame, the effects of those out-of-conference results are huge.
If Minnesota lost to Michigan St., for instance, that would be positive for some Big Ten teams and negative for others, but it wouldnít have a huge impact on the conference overall. Out-of-conference results have a uniformly positive or negative effect though. If 8 or 9 games you play are made to look better or worse, that makes a big difference.
Ohio St.ís strength of schedule was also assisted by Virginia Techís win over Duke. Losses hurt more than wins help, so if another loss had been added to Virginia Tech, that would have continued to weigh Ohio St. down. Instead, the Hokiesí ability to beat another pretty good team makes the loss not hurt so much.
Another factor that helped Ohio St. was Navyís win over Georgia Southern. Iím not going to pretend Georgia Southern is a great team, but they have 7 FBS wins, so thatís a positive for Navy, which Ohio St. beat earlier in the year.
A big game for the Big Ten in general was Notre Dame/Northwestern. Not only was that a big win for a Big Ten team, but it also damaged what had been a quality opponent for Pac-12 and ACC teams.
Despite Northwestern taking even more of the luster off of Florida St.ís win over Notre Dame, the Seminoles were still able to move into #2 after a quality win that coincided with an Oregon bye week. Ohio St. was a little too far behind to challenge the íNoles either.
The winner of Ole Miss and Mississippi St. still has a good chance to move into the top 4, particularly if Alabama loses to Auburn. If Ole Miss (@ Arkansas) and Mississippi St. (vs. Vanderbilt) win next week, this would mean that Alabama would be shut out of the SEC championship game.
The way my system operates, itís a disadvantage not to be in the conference-championship game at the end of the year. This is one reason Alabama did not rate as highly in my system as it did in the BCS in 2011, for instance.
I mentioned TCU earlier. Itís not looking good for the Big XII in my system.
It would take a major group of losses by top teams for the Horned Frogs (currently #7) to move up significantly. Theyíre idle next week, then they play Texas during Rivalry Week, which is their last chance to get a decent number of points. During championship week, they play Iowa St., so thatís not going to help them out much. Even Marshall would get more points that week with a win. TCU is just a whisker ahead of UCLA, who can get a lot of points by winning out, especially if the Bruins win the Pac-12 South.
Kansas St. plays Baylor during championship week, but Kansas St. has two losses (and Auburn isnít helping them by losing) and Baylor doesnít have the prior wins. Their non-conference schedule was just awful.
No one outside of the top 10 has much of a chance of making the top 4, but teams like Georgia Tech, Arizona, and Wisconsin could move up significantly by winning their respective conferences.
As we learned in 2007 though, you never want to say itís impossible for either a team like TCU or one of those lower teams.
LSU, Notre Dame, and Duke fell out. I think theyíre all top-25 teams in ability (although none played like it Saturday), but teams in the 20s are packed pretty closely together, and all have at least one good chance for points coming up.
There were 11 losses or bye weeks in the top 18 last week, so that accounts for a lot of the movement. Any team that went into the week in the top 18 and won a game is now in the top 12. All but two (Marshall and Boise St.) are in the top 7.
Pac-12 teams are moving up, in part due to Arizona St.ís win over Notre Dame.
Just like last week, there are no newly-ranked teams for the season, so there are no team logos. There are 39 teams total that got at least some level of ďMock BCSĒ points, so you can follow the link below to find them all.
My Top 25
1 ( 1 ) Miss. St. 1
2 ( 4 ) Oregon 5
3 ( 2 ) Florida St. 3
4 ( 3 ) Alabama 6
5 ( 10 ) Ole Miss 4
6 ( 12 ) UCLA 7
7 ( 8 ) Auburn 2
8 ( 7 ) Arizona St. 8
9 ( 5 ) TCU 12
10 ( 9 ) Ohio St. 15
11 ( 23 ) Colo. St. 14
12 ( 11 ) Nebraska 9
13 ( 21 ) Marshall 17
14 ( 6 ) Baylor 22
15 ( 29 ) Boise St. 18
16 ( 15 ) Notre Dame 13
17 (†20 ) Duke 23
18 ( 17 ) LSU 10
19 ( 13 ) Kansas St. 11
20 ( 19 ) Arizona 21
21 ( 16 ) Georgia 25
22 ( 27 ) Ga. Tech Ė
23 (†18 ) Clemson 20
24 ( 14 ) Mich. St. 16
25 ( 22 ) TX A&M Ė
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (19) Oklahoma, (24) Missouri
It makes me sick to have to give Alabama credit for a win and to penalize LSU for a loss, just so you know. At least now I donít have to cheer for the Rammer Jammers in any of their remaining games.
I havenít forced myself to cheer for Alabama since Thanksgiving Day of 2010 (I was neutral when they played Notre Dame in January 2013); but if LSU had kept winning, I would have had to cheer for them in one or possibly both of their remaining games.
Anyway, Oregon is #2 for the moment, but things will even out when the Ducks have a bye week next week. If I were to account for the extra week now, Oregon would actually be #4.
I was pleased that my rankings gave some credit to the Pac-12. I didnít make a rankings system to favor one conference (and neither did any of the widely-recognized systems). So while itís not quite as strong as the SEC West (everyone but Arkansas has no losses outside the division), the Oregon/Arizona St./Arizona/UCLA group of teams has played well enough to help one another out, especially with ASUís win over Notre Dame. UCLA did lose to Utah, and Arizona did lose to USC, so thatís why itís not quite the same as the top of the SEC West.
I explained the circumstances, but the fact that Oregon is close enough to Alabama in the first place shows that itís not impossible to break into the group of SEC teams even if they werenít beating each other constantly. The best Pac-12 team with two losses isnít ahead of the best SEC team with two losses (Ole Miss), but they are ahead of the second-best (Auburn).
Arizona St. only has one loss; but unlike UCLA, they wonít play Oregon until the Pac-12 championship (if at all) and they havenít played Arizona yet. UCLAís win over Texas is also looking better after the Horns beat WVU.
I skipped Florida St. They should be a somewhat comfortable #2 next week if they win.U. Miami is possibly the best three-loss team (after LSU anyway). One of the Hurricanesí losses is to Nebraska, and they are the only team to beat Duke.
Auburn/Ole Miss is not a mistake or oversight. Even though Auburn beat Ole Miss, I still think the Rebels belong ahead. Ole Miss is 1-0 against the top two teams in the West, and Auburn is 0-1. Also, the loss at LSU is more forgivable than the loss at home againstA&M.
TCU and Ohio St. are where they belong. Basically, the wrong teams won. Either conferenceís best chance was for the teams that were undefeated in conference with respectable out-of-conference losses (Michigan St. to Oregon and KSU to Auburn) to win out.
TCUís best win is the one they just had over Kansas St. The Oklahoma win is looking less impressive now. The Frogs beat Minnesota out of conference, but their games againstSamford and still-winless SMU donít help them out much.
Of course, Ohio St.ís loss to mediocre Virginia Tech is going to be difficult to overcome, but they may have an outside shot if they can beat Nebraska (preferably if they donít incur any further losses) in the Big Ten championship.
There is then a huge gap before getting to #11, Colorado St. The Rams have a bye week, followed by New Mexico, so there will be plenty of opportunity for teams to pass them. Marshall already had its bye weeks, but the best team on their schedule right now (pending whoever wins the other division) is Rice.
Nebraska is between the two mid-major/group-of-five teams, but as I indicated, they can find their way to move up by winning.
Baylor only has the one loss, but the Bears played SMU, Northwestern St., and Buffalo out of conference. Also, they have yet to play Kansas St. Thatís on championship week, so I guess it will be a good chance to make one last statement if the Bears keep winning.
Boise St. is not likely to move up very much. Notre Dame can move up a little bit, but neither of those will be particularly relevant with two losses.
Duke certainly still has some potential for points being that they may earn a rematch in the ACC title game with Florida St., but there isnít too much before then.
Everyone else is mostly just jockeying for non-CFP bowl consideration.
Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M donít want to fall too far down the list of SEC bowls (I donít think the Bulldogs want to see Jacksonville again, for instance). Michigan St. looks like it may be playing an SEC team somewhere in Florida.
I mentioned Kansas St. and Arizona earlier. They look out of their respective conference races for the moment, but there are big games left.
Georgia Tech and Clemson will square off for best two-loss ACC team.
This penalty took the potential winning points off the board for the Irish.
Before I begin, I hope you'll excuse me for mentioning that my blog†has had a really good day in views.† I did a post about the LSU/Ole Miss rivalry about four years ago, and it's gotten about 1000 views in the last week, most of them today.
1 Florida St. 1
2 Ole Miss 3
3 Miss. St. 2
4 Alabama 7
5 Auburn 4
6 Oregon 9
7 Marshall 10
8 Notre Dame 5
9 Georgia 11
10 Arizona 8
11 Minnesota 15
12 UCLA 18
13 Mich. St. 13
14 TCU 19
15 Nebraska 17
16 LSU 20
17 Colo. St. 21
18 Ohio St. Ė
19 Kansas St. Ė
20 Baylor 6
21 USC 16
22 Oklahoma 12
23 Clemson Ė
24 Arizona St. Ė
25 Duke 23
Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in complete agreement with the top 25 given above)
Out of rankings: (14) Ga. Tech, (22) Kentucky, (24) Okie St., (25) TX A&M
Iíve updated the LSU/Kentucky rivalry blog†if you havenít seen it. Iíve been adding basic information to these and mentioning more in-depth observations in other blogs. Games that arenít close will get less mention in the narrative.†I also had a bit of fun at TigerDroppings.
Headache at the Top
I literally gave myself a headache thinking about what to do and the future possibilities.
I know I indicated that last week might be the last time I would alter the order of the first few teams for my rankings here, but unforeseen circumstances arose to change that. Tennessee is not a good team, but Ole Miss gained enough points last week to pass up Mississippi St. I was thinking Florida St. or Notre Dame (had they won) would be more likely challengers for #1, so I just didnít think about this possibility.
I said last week I donít think Kentucky is a good enough team to beat Mississippi St. and in light of yesterdayís game, I even more strongly donít think they are. I particularly donít think the Bulldogs would lose such a game after a bye week. Florida St. has a bye next week, so there would have been less reason to keep Florida St. in the top spot had Mississippi St. topped my computer rankings. Also, if Florida St. had lost and I had to make a change anyway, that would have made it even easier.
Iím not expecting LSU to beat Ole Miss, but I think there is a sufficiently large enough chance of a loss to put off making Ole Miss #1 until next week. The flip side is I think thatís the kind of challenge that can substantiate a #1 ranking. I simply donít think the Rebels have had that kind of challenge yet. Alabama is a better team than LSU right now, possibly by a considerable margin, but home field can make a big difference. (Ole Miss beat Alabama in Oxford if you donít follow what Iím saying.)
LSU had a better record and seemed to be the better team on paper when they went on the road to play Ole Miss last season. Sometimes rivalry games like this go the other way than people would expect. A possibly more fitting example: 2008 is arguably the worst LSU season since 1999, and the Tigers took Alabama, who was undefeated and ranked #1, to overtime when they played the Tide at home.
Right now, Ole Miss has only played two SEC opponents that do not reside in the state of Tennessee, and as I mentioned, one of them was at home. The Rebels have not won a true road game outside of the SEC (and I they had a degree of home-field advantage against Boise St. in Atlanta). The only reason theyíre #1 in my system right now is theyíve had one fewer bye week than their in-state rivals. Also, Alabama is the only team I have in the top 25 right now that they beat. Thatís not enough for me.
Why not make Mississippi St. #1 anyway? For one thing, Iím having to depart from the computer rankings anyway. The only reason to move Florida St. down would have been to just take all subjectivity and deference out of it. Why not keep a team who just beat another unbeaten team there for now? Florida St. also has by far the longest unbeaten streak at the moment.
Another reason is I donít like to make a change one week after another change without both teams losing. If Ole Miss does win next week, then it would have been a new #1 three weeks in a row. Thatís the kind of thing that Iím trying to avoid. Also, Florida St. was not a new #1 for this season (and certainly not forever). Thatís a higher standard for me, so waiting until they reclaim #1 in the computers seems reasonable.
Mississippi St. will not have a big-points week until November 15 at the soonest (Alabama), so itís possible someone else would be #1 if Ole Miss loses before that week anyway.
Anyway, expect #1 next week to be from Mississippi (unless both Mississippi St. and Ole Miss lose), and expect that team to also be #1 here. I think it will be good to fully endorse my computer ratings at the same time that the playoff committee has to reveal their opinion for the first time. Outside of the top 3, the rest of the top 25 is completely unaltered from the order of highest points in my computer ratings.
The Rest of the Top 25
Marshall keeps moving up, but keep in mind that unlike in the polls, they can easily get passed up as the season goes on even if they stay undefeated. The problem is when teams have a chance to pass them up, those teams tend to lose (or in the case of Arizona they have bye weeks).
It may understandably seem a bit strange that TCU is behind Minnesota. The Horned Frogs have had two bye weeks, which doesnít help. Also, for obvious reasons, Baylor is a more harmful loss to TCU than TCU is a harmful loss to Minnesota.
You might not take Colorado St. seriously, but for some reason the polls take USC seriously despite their loss to Boston College. Colorado St. beat Boston College and has only lost one game, to Boise St. (who is just outside of the top 25).
I donít understand why the polls love Oklahoma so much. Any other team that just had its second loss of the season (with no impressive wins) would be lucky to be in the top 25 at all. I would understand doing that for Alabama maybe, but not for a team that hasnít won a national championship in 14 years.
Kansas St., the second team to beat the Sooners, makes its first appearance in my top 25 since the end of the 2012 season.
Virginia isnít a bad team, so it might be nice if Duke got more credit for beating them, but the Cavaliersí record needs to improve for the win to count for more.
LSU plays Florida this week, so if youíre interested, here is my LSU/Florida Rivalry blog.
Dak Prescott evades an Auburn defender last year. I rank the two teams #1 and #3 going into their game Saturday.
1 Auburn 1
2 Florida St. 2
3 Miss. St. 6
4 Ole Miss 11
5 Arizona 15
6 Notre Dame 12
7 Ga. Tech 13
8 TCU 23
9 UCLA 9
10 Alabama 3
11 Marshall 24
12 Oregon 4
13 Nebraska 10
14 TX A&M 8
15 Oklahoma 5
16 Mich. St. Ė
17 Baylor 17
18 Missouri 25
19 Penn St. Ė
20 Minnesota Ė
21 Ohio St. Ė
22 Arizona St. Ė
23 Louisville 20
24 UC-Berkeley Ė
25 Florida Ė
Full computer rankings 1-128 (as I will explain, these are not in agreement with the top 25 given above)
Out of rankings: (7) BYU, (14) LSU. (16) E. Carolina, (18) Georgia, (19) S. Carolina, (21) Okie St.. (22) NC State
Explanation and future rankings
I only made two adjustments to my computer ratings to make this top 25. One was to keep Florida St. at #2. They actually were #2 in the computer rating last week, but the big points by undefeated Ole Miss, Miss. St., and Arizona teams them all ahead of the Seminoles. I still think itís too early to put any of them #2 though.
If the Bulldogs win next week, I may even put them #1. If Ole Miss and Auburn win, they may be 1 and 2, but then Florida St. would have a chance to get back in the top 2 with a win over Notre Dame the following week. In that scenario, I may again keep Florida St. #2 pending the outcome of the game against the Irish.
The other adjustment was to keep UCLA at #9. It just doesnít look right to lose to an unranked team and move up. They were #1 in the computer ratings last week.
I may make similar minor adjustments next week (I mentioned one possibility), but after the following week, I plan to just follow the computer rating to the letter.
In total, 7 of my top 11 teams lost of the 9 possible. There were three games where top-11 teams were playing one another, so thatís why there were only 9 possible losses. The only survivor against a team ranked below #15 was Florida St. Auburn was also a survivor, but LSU was #14 going into last week. (More on LSU below.)
Iím going to talk about new teams in the top 25 and old teams that fell out. I think itís pretty obvious why South Carolina (losers to Kentucky) and North Carolina St. (losers to Clemson) fell out. Some teams only moved into the rankings because 12 teams ahead of them lost.
BYU fell all the way out after losing to Utah St. That wasnít based on past opponents so much (although Texas didnít help), but Utah St. (#87 going into the week) is a bad loss at this point, so having a bad loss this early makes you sink like a stone. Virginia is still a quality win though.
East Carolinaís loss to South Carolina continues to drag them down. Also, the Pirates essentially have zero points to show for the last two weeks (a bye and a win over SMU). Virginia Tech won, but they beat North Carolina (another prior opponent of East Carolina), so that didnít help much.
Georgia also lost to South Carolina, so that is hurting them as well. Also, Tennesseeís loss wasnít helpful either.
Oklahoma St. is having issues with prior opponents, and Saturdayís win over Iowa St. (which only has one win) didnít help much. Texas-San Antonio has struggled, and Texas Tech lost yet again as well. Florida St. is still a respectable loss, but itís not really more respectable than it was already.
Michigan St. is back after finally getting a good win over Nebraska, nothing controversial there. Their land grant rivals (Penn St.) might be more of a mystery, but Akron, Rutgers, Northwestern, and Central Florida all won last week, and of course some higher teams suffered losses.
There isnít much analysis required for Minnesota, Ohio St., and Arizona St. Minnesota was idle, so they didnít really have points added, but it still helped a lot that TCU (the team they lost to) beat Oklahoma. The other two also had fairly decent wins.
Cal is probably the worst 4-1 team, but their only loss is to undefeated Arizona. Even though the Colorado and Washington St. wins werenít pretty and the Bears have allowed 144 points in their last 9 quarters, a win is a win. The Pac-12 schedule is a decent boost as well. Iíll mention Florida below.
I donít factor in margin of victory, so you might wonder why LSU fell so far. The Tigers had two wins over otherwise-unbeaten teams (ULM and Wisconsin) going into the week, but both lost. LSU does still have an extremely good schedule (#12 in FBS average), but itís very difficult to be in the top 25 with two losses this early, and the ULM and Wisconsin losses made it impossible. Also, an average FBS opponent would have given more points than Sam Houston St.
Iíve already given my thoughts about LSU in the past few blogs, but this was a very good article about what is important in this season at this point.http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/90273/developing-talent-the-key-now-for-lsu?ex_cid=espnapi_public
Forget winning the SEC West. Sure, competitive divisions like that can theoretically have a two-loss champion, but they need to just put it out of their minds completely. It should be a relaxed atmosphere where if you can upset Alabama, Ole Miss, or whoever, thatís great, but just play a good game. We didnít do that against Auburn, it was like the worse it got the more afraid LSU was of making it even worse. Even though Auburn is in playoff position and could easily be overshadowed with just one slip-up, they played more like a team with nothing to lose than LSU did.
My one disagreement with the author in the piece above is I donít think you settle on one quarterback. If one of them plays a bad half, take him out. The only decent drives were orchestrated by Jennings in the last game (the touchdown drive was essentially one good play rather than a well-orchestrated drive) and by Harris in the previous game. Neither one should have stayed in. We donít have to pick next yearís quarterback until next year. If they both get an equal number of snaps this year, then you have even more to go on in picking the quarterback for next year.
I think itís far worse to wrongly settle on a quarterback and stubbornly refuse to make a change. Thatís what happened in the 2012 title game. Maybe they wouldnít have gotten any points with Lee (who had struggled in the first game against Alabama), but you canít do worse than 0. Saturday was only one of two times since then (the other being @Alabama last year) that LSU lost by more than one possession.
As mentioned, LSU plays Florida next week. They also have two quarterbacks. Will Muschamp benched one of them to provide an offensive spark, and it worked. I donít know if he put a better QB in the abstract in, and he probably doesnít either, but he made a change to see if it would help against a given team in a given situation and it did. I suspect the second quarterback will do better against LSU based on his skill set (at least they might not be shut out for three quarters); but if not, Iím sure Muschamp will put the other guy back in.
The Gators snuck into my top 25 because the Kentucky win was strengthened when the Wildcats beat South Carolina. The one-point win at Tennessee got them some points as well. I think beating a team like that on the road would be something for LSU to be proud of. There will be a lot of unhappy people if they donít win; but like the ESPN article says, there is a lot of potential for the future either way.
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